By Noelle Sterne
How to sharpen and enlarge your understanding and application of intentions.
I used to think that the word intention was weak. Unlike affirmation, it didn’t seem to carry a strong and definitive declaration. To say “I intend to…” felt like a metaphysical world away from “I am…”
Surprisingly, though, I discovered that intention stems from the Latin action noun intendere and means, literally, “a stretching out” and more colloquially “to turn one’s attention to.”
I was even more surprised to read Wayne Dyer’s definition in his excellent book The Power of Intention. To pair intention with power sends a message all its own, as does his subtitle: Learning to Co-Create Your World Your Way. Who says intention is weak?
Dyer offers a new, much expanded definition of intention that dispels forever the notion that it is paltry and limited. He credits Carlos Castenada (The Active Side of Infinity) with opening his figurative eyes to the power of intention. Castenada writes, “Intent is a force that exists in the universe.” Dyer expounds: “Imagine that intention is not something you do, but rather a force that exists in the universe as an invisible field of energy!” (p. 4).
This is indeed a greater concept of intention than I’d ever thought of. Dyer devotes his book to exploring the many faces (his word) and power of intention, with chapters instructing us for just about every part of our lives. For example, “It Is My Intention to: Feel Successful and Attract Abundance into My Life,” “It Is My Intention to: Attract Ideal People and Divine Relationships.”
With such a larger, more encompassing portrayal of intention, how can we sharpen and enlarge our own understanding and application?
Identify Your Intentions
The first step, if you haven’t already taken it, is to identify your intention. What is it you most want to turn your attention to, your most motivating, passion-making desire? What do you want to do that you’ve been avoiding, not giving enough time to, or excusing? With the universe’s Energetic Force at your elbow, what do you want to stretch toward?
Go back to childhood or adolescence (the good part). What most fascinated you? What did you seek out and ask for on your birthday, at Christmas, in books, DVDs, games, puzzles? What school subject couldn’t you wait to get into? What did you explore on your own? Let yourself dream back and replay those scenes. You probably know the answers already.
Wherever you are now in your life, whatever you are judging yourself as having done or not done, chosen or not chosen, throw it all out. Those judgments are only getting in your way and blocking your intention and the Force that manifests it. Instead, start NOW.
If your reminiscences aren’t yielding much, here’s another method. Deepak Chopra says in The Seven Laws of Success that Stillness is the first requirement for discovering our intentions. So, if you need help, become quiet and affirm:
My most delicious intention is revealed to me now.
I yield and listen for my greatest and most passionate intention.
If more than one passion is revealed, fine too. List them all.
You are entitled to your intentions and desires. You deserve your intentions. You can strengthen your intentions by thinking of them as reflections of the universal Force.
Are you not as committed as you’d like to be? A little scared? Fine. Accept the feelings. You’re in charge.
Apply Your Intentions
You may not have realized it, but Intention is a law. Chopra devotes an entire chapter to “The Law of Intention and Desire.” The law is based on “the fact that energy and information exist everywhere in nature” (p. 67). Chopra explains that our nervous systems become aware of the fields of energy and information through our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and beliefs. And, most startling, our bodies are not separate from “the body of the universe…[T]he universe…is [our] extended body” (p. 69). So, with our mind and thoughts we can “consciously change the informational content” of our world (p. 70) and manifest it physically.
You don’t have to master all of this heady stuff (or understand it) to apply your intentions. Just know that we are made perfect and whole, and we have all access to the universe of nonmatter that we experience as we apply our desires.
If this is still too much, know that where we place our thoughts and attention (turn our attention to) produces our intentions and desires. Our intentions carry our intent to realize a goal, objective, aim. Remind yourself too, as Chopra and many other spiritual teachers tell us, that if you have the desire and intention for something, you inherently possess the means for its fulfillment.
Affirmations for Intention
Apply your intentions through mental images and affirmations that really do reflect your desires. Sometimes I imagine a line drawing of the desired goal and tell myself that as I focus on it the Source manifests it by simply coloring it in. (Source = God or any other term you like where you can easily feel the Infinite.) A friend says she creates and “directs” a movie of her desire and intention and plays it several times a day.
Affirmations are very powerful. You can use them for your intentions about anything in your life—your body, mind, emotions, relationships, possessions, actions, events, outcomes. To help you, here are several examples.
First, four affirmations on my writing intention:
- I intend to allow Source to fully come through me in all my writing.
- I intend to reach readers’ hearts and minds and souls through the writing that comes through me.
- I intend to devote my fullest passion, attention, interest, and energy to the writing that comes through me.
- I intend to remain open to Source for all ideas and directions that come through me.
And here are four affirmations a generous colleague shared on her primary relationship:
- I intend to see him constantly whole.
- I intend to let him be fully himself, as I intend to be fully myself.
- I intend to give up my judging, accept our differences, and celebrate them.
- I intend to know that we are each a unique reflection and manifestation of Source.
If these affirmations feel right to you, use them. Or draw on them as models, substituting your own words, subjects, and details.
Your intentions are your strength. Feel their fervor and fire. Know and trust their rightness, and practice focusing on them. They are grounded in the universal Force and cannot fail. You have decided. You have intended. You now express your perfect intentions and they appear in your life.
Author, editor, writing coach, workshop leader, and academic mentor, Noelle Sterne has published over 600 stories, essays, writing craft articles, spiritual pieces, and occasional poems in literary and academic print and online venues. Publications include Author Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul (five volumes), Inspire Me Today, Live- WriteThrive, MindBodySpirit, Journal of Expressive Writing, Mused, Pen and Prosper, Romance Writers Report, Ruminate, Sasee, Textbook and Academic Authors Association blog (monthly), Thesis Whisperer, Transformation Coaching (bimonthly), Two Drops of Ink blog, Unity Magazine, WE Magazine for Women, Women in Higher Education, Women on Writing, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer. With a Ph.D. from Columbia University, for 30 years Noelle has assisted doctoral candidates in completing their dissertations (finally). Her published handbook to assist doctoral candidates is based on her professional academic practice): Challenges in Writing Your Dissertation: Coping with the Emotional, Interpersonal, and Psychological Struggles (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2015). In Noelle’s spiritual self-help book, Trust Your Life: Forgive Yourself and Go After Your Dreams (Unity Books, 2011), she draws examples from her academic consulting and other aspects of life to support readers in reaching their lifelong yearnings. Continuing with her own, she is completing her second novel. Her webinar about Trust Your Life can be seen on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95EeqllONIQ&feature=youtu.be Visit Noelle at her website: http://www.trustyourlifenow.com.